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Could this be you?

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

How does someone know if they have histamine issues? This article will help you determine if you or someone you love might have high histamine levels that could be contributing to a health condition.


Let's start by listing some of the symptoms associated with high histamine. As you look through this list, think about these symptoms over your entire lifetime.


Different symptoms can show up at different points in your life. For example, I had unexplained hives during childhood and early adulthood, but haven’t had them for a couple of decades now.


I only had exercise induced asthma during my teens.

I had been a mouth breather at night through childhood, but during my teens I couldn’t breathe through my nose at all. Luckily that improved.

I had no digestive issues during childhood, but struggled with prolonged periods of extreme nausea in my 20s and 30s.

Some issues have been consistent for me, like eczema and sinus inflammation, but many have not.

As you look through this list of symptoms ask yourself, “Have I ever experienced this?”


Brain and Nervous System Symptoms headache/migraine dizziness/vertigo anxiety numbness/tingling concentration or memory problems sleep difficulties sensitivity to lights, sounds, smells, temperature or EMFs (electromagnetic fields)

nerve pain

Respiratory Symptoms asthma (including exercise induced asthma) coughing shortness of breath drippy nose congestion (mouth breather)

Reproductive & Urinary Symptoms extreme pain with periods PMS infertility estrogen dominance (for both men and women) urinary urgency or frequency pelvic pain vulvar pain

pain with urination


Skin Symptoms flushing (when embarrassed, or after drinking wine) hives, rashes, eczema itchy excessive sweating swelling dermatographism (welts form with pressure, rubbing or scratching) strong reaction to bug bites

Cardiac Symptoms heart palpitations or racing heart arrhythmia low blood pressure blood clots chest pain

Muscle and Joint Symptoms pain twitches

degenerative discs


Digestive Symptoms nausea with or without vomiting heartburn/GERD (reflux) diarrhea

abdominal pain

food allergies or sensitivities That’s a LONG list! As you can see, there are a lot of vastly differing symptoms that affect different parts of the body. That is why it is so difficult for many people to get a proper diagnosis. Symptoms can be from seemingly unrelated body parts, making it hard to connect those symptoms to a common cause.

To understand histamine mediated symptoms, it’s important to recognize that histamine receptors (these are like little docking ports on cells) exist everywhere in the body. Histamine binds to these receptors, and once bound will carry out a physiological action. In the same way that you might plug in different items into your computer docking ports (USB, HMDI, ethernet…) for different functions, histamine can attach to 4 different receptors that will affect the types of physiological response.

Here is a very brief summary of histamine receptors:

  • H1 - associated with allergic types of symptoms and inflammation. It is found in a variety of tissues, but is common in epithelial tissue (skin, GI tract, lungs, uterus). Vasodilation and bronchoconstriction are some of the effects when histamines bind to these receptors.

  • H2 - associated with gastric acid secretion, vasodilation, and endothelial permeability. High levels of stomach acid and mucous production in airways are effects of binding to these receptors.

  • H3 - found in neurons. Binding to these receptors is associated with neuro-inflammation.

  • H4 - found on immune cells including mast cells. Similarly to H1 receptors, histamine binding to these sites is associated with allergy and inflammation.

A detailed table of the tissues affected by histamines can be found in this table from the research article The Role of Histamine and Histamine Receptors in Mast Cell Mediated Allergy and Inflammation. Now that you understand a bit about the different types of receptors, it makes sense that the symptoms listed above can vary so significantly. There are diverse physiological effects when histamine binds to different receptors, resulting in the seemingly unrelated symptoms. But they are related, and it can be a relief to find this out.

Something very interesting happens when you start to look at clusters of these symptoms. Pain, fatigue and concentration and memory problems are all symptoms of high histamine levels. But they are also symptoms of fibromyalgia! So it should come as no surprise that histamine is correlated to fibromyalgia (1). Is it possible that your diagnosis is similar - do your symptoms match those of high histamine levels?


Here is a list of other health conditions where the research shows a correlation to histamine levels: Anxiety (2) Autism (3) Cancer (gastrointestinal) (4) Chronis UTIs (urinary tract infections) (5) Crohn’s/colitis (6)(7) Endometriosis (8) GERD (gastroesophageal reflux) (9)(10) IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) (11) Schizophrenia (12)(13) Tinnitus (14) Interstitial Cystitis (14)


How to know if histamines are a problem for you?

  1. Take a look at the list of symptoms and see if you have experienced several of these over your lifetime.  If you answer yes, then keep reading.

  2. Look at the list of diagnosis.  If you have been diagnosed with one of these conditions then keep reading.

  3. Find a functional naturopathic or medical doctor who is able to test for serum histamine levels, and the biomarkers associated with mast cell activation.  If you can’t find someone close to home, then look for a practitioner who will do virtual consultations.  Family doctors are currently not able to do this testing, as they are done through private labs.

  4. Follow through with the entire treatment protocol recommended by your doctor.  A low-histamine diet will be part of that protocol.  I promise you that we are working hard to complete our book, so that an excellent resource will be available!



Could this be you?

What is the first step you are going to take to find out?


If you have Histamine Intolerance, then a low-histamine diet may be enough to get your symptoms under control. Genetic testing will reveal genetic variations impacting your ability to break down and clear histamines.

If you have Mast Cell Activation, then working with a practitioner is very important to help address underlying reasons for why your mast cells are activated. There are many possible reasons, so figuring out which ones apply to you is instrumental in calming your mast cells.

Could this be you?

What is the first step you are going to take to find out?

Happy, Healthy Eating, Tracey

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